Saturday, June 17 at 4:00 pm

Third Annual William Selke Memorial Lecture

Photo by Hugh Powell

The Stockbridge Library Association is pleased to announce Mea S. Cook, Associate Professor of Geosciences at Williams College, will deliver the third annual William Selke Memorial Lecture on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.  Her topic will be “The Oceans in a Changing Climate.”

The oceans play a key role in Earth’s response to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions: they have absorbed about one third of carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel burning and deforestation, and most of the excess heat that is accumulating in the climate system from the anthropogenic greenhouse gases that remain in the atmosphere.  How do the resulting ocean acidification and warming affect the oceans? What can studying the ocean’s role in natural climate changes from the past inform us about how our climate may evolve in the future?  In this lecture, Dr. Cook will show how she and other scientists use deep-sea sediment cores to reconstruct past climate and ocean changes from key time periods that are the closest natural analogs to modern and future climate.

SelkeMartha Selke established the Annual William Selke Memorial Lecture with the Stockbridge Library in 2015 to honor the memory of her husband, who enjoyed a distinguished career in engineering research and development. William Selke received both undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT and earned a doctorate in engineering from Yale University. He was on the faculty of Columbia University and later worked for the Dupont Corporation, the Peter J. Schweitzer Corporation (a Lee-based company specializing in the manufacture of specialized technical papers), and Kimberly-Clark, as Vice President of the Corporate Science and Technology Group.

After his retirement, Selke returned to Stockbridge where he was actively engaged in civic life, serving on numerous Town boards and committees as well as the boards of the Stockbridge Library Association (as President), The Laurel Hill Association, The Old Corner House-Stockbridge Historical Society, and The Berkshire Museum. He was also an overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Photo by Hugh Powell

This year’s lecturer, Mea S. Cook, earned her B.A. in Geosciences from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography.  She is an Associate Professor of Geosciences at Williams College, where she teaches courses on oceanography, climate change and environmental science.  She studies the ocean’s role in natural climate variability on timescales ranging from decades to hundreds of thousands of years, including natural fluxes of methane and carbon dioxide between the ocean and atmosphere and the role of ocean circulation in ice age cycles.  She is also a musician, and did a Certificate in Musical Performance in violoncello and viola da gamba at Princeton, and won an Emerson Music Fellowship at MIT. She is a member of the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please call the Stockbridge Library at (413) 298-5501 or visit

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